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Village Demolished

A. Update on Ramzi Yassin of Bil’in from Muqassed Hospital

Ramzi Yassin was shot in the head with a rubber-coated steel bullet by an Israeli soldier at a protest in Bil’in on Friday July 8. Ramzi has been unconscious and in serious condition since then. He was transferred from a hospital in Ramallah to Muqassed Hospital in Jerusalem where his family is unable to visit him because Israeli authorities will not issue them a permit.

Today Ramzi has regained consciousness and has even taken a few steps and eaten on his own. He is still groggy and in pain, but the doctors say he should be home within two weeks.

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B. Village Demolished by ISM
Tuesday July 12

Khirbet Tana, near Beit Furik, Nablus

On July 5th, Israeli forces demolished the entire village of Tana, near Beit Furik, Nablus. The residents had received one day's notice (via a piece of paper left outside one of their dwellings) that their homes were to be demolished. The villagers knew no-one to call; thus, the razing of their homes went ahead unhindered. The UN estimates 170 persons have been "displaced", the villagers say Tana was home to about 100 families. The villagers intend to protest this destruction and reclaim their land this Thursday 14th July.

Tana is a small farming village in the Jordan valley in one of the longest continually inhabited areas of the world. Residents say the area is mentioned in the holy books and was known 3500 years ago. The village mosque, the only structure not to be demolished, has stood for several hundred years.

The paper announcing the demolition says that the villagers had built their homes without Israeli permission. Their caves and stone constructions are hundreds of years old. In recent years they have added steel and concrete structures to the front of their caves. A
school house was built six years ago and, contrary to the UN report, this too was destroyed last week. When the army destroyed the village they demolished not only the steel structures but the caves themselves and even the villagers' cars.

In 1989 the villagers had a court case in Israel, after which they were told they would be allowed to farm the western portion of their land. In recent years the villagers have also been threatened by settlers from Itamar, who came and swam in their water supply.

The villagers are not defeated and refuse to be intimidated. They intend to go back to their land, rebuild their homes and continue farming. International and Israeli activists supporting this action will assemble in Beit Furik at Beit Furik Municpality at 10am, Thursday 14th July

For more information on Tana see Beit Furik Village's website at:
http://www.beitfurik.levillage.org/journal
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C. Is the World Blind: Two more families lose their homes in East Jerusalem today, Merijn De Jong, Israeli Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD)

http://www.icahd.org/eng/news.asp?menu==5&submenu==1&item=$6

Two more families in East-Jerusalem lost their homes today and another two families had their belongings thrown out into the street as a new wave of house demolitions swept through Dahiat Al-Salaam and Silwan.

In Dahiat Al-Salaam in East-Jerusalem, the Hannafiya family’s home was demolished at 9:30 this morning. Eight people were made homeless by the demolition because their house did not have a building permit. The Jerusalem municipality makes it nearly impossible for most Palestinians in East Jerusalem to receive building permits.

As the children of the family gathered their toys from atop the rubble that was once their home, the homeowner spoke of his son who will soon return from the United States to get married: “How do I explain this to him when he gets back, that the house is not there anymore?"

The two Hamdan brothers, who live with their families down the street from the Hannafiya family, had all of their belongings taken from their homes in preparation for demolition. While the family’s attorney, Sami Arshid, was able to stop the demolitions from taking place through a court order, most of the family’s belongings were severely damaged by the workers who removed them from the home. Needless to say, there will be no compensation from the municipality for the damage; and while the demolitions were postponed today, the homes are still at risk for demolition in the future.

The mother of one of the families, whose belongings were thrown into the street, showed us around her home. "Is the world blind?" she asked, as she displayed the now ruined pictures that had been drawn by her son.

After the demolition of the house in Dahiat Al-Salaam, another home was destroyed in Ein Luze, near the El-Bustan area in Silwan. The recently completed home belonged to the Musa Siam family who had yet to move in. When the bulldozers were unable to reach the house, the municipality sent workers to demolish it by hand.

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D. Palestinian Civil Society Calls for Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Against Israel Until it Complies with International Law and Universal Principles of Human Rights

July 9th, 2005

One year after the historic Advisory Opinion of the International Court of Justice (ICJ), which found Israel's Wall built on occupied Palestinian territory to be illegal, Israel continues its construction of the colonial Wall with total disregard to the Court's decision.
Thirty eight years into Israel's occupation of the Palestinian West Bank (including East
Jerusalem), Gaza Strip and the Syrian Golan Heights, Israel continues to expand Jewish colonies. It has unilaterally annexed occupied East Jerusalem and the Golan Heights and is now de facto annexing large parts of the West Bank by means of the Wall.

Israel is also preparing - in the shadow of its planned redeployment from the Gaza Strip - to build and expand colonies in the West Bank. Fifty seven years after the state of Israel was built mainly on land ethnically cleansed of its Palestinian owners, a majority of Palestinians are refugees, most of whom are stateless. Moreover, Israel's entrenched system of racial discrimination against its own Arab- Palestinian citizens remains intact.

In light of Israel's persistent violations of international law, and….

Given that, since 1948, hundreds of UN resolutions have condemned Israel's colonial and discriminatory policies as illegal and called for immediate, adequate and effective remedies, and…

Given that all forms of international intervention and peace-making have until now failed to convince or force Israel to comply with humanitarian law, to respect fundamental human rights and to end its occupation and oppression of the people of Palestine, and…

In view of the fact that people of conscience in the international community have historically shouldered the moral responsibility to fight injustice, as exemplified in the struggle to abolish apartheid in South Africa through diverse forms of boycott, divestment and sanctions…

Inspired by the struggle of South Africans against apartheid and in the spirit of international solidarity, moral consistency and resistance to injustice and oppression…

We, representatives of Palestinian civil society, call upon international civil society organizations and people of conscience all over the world to impose broad boycotts and implement divestment initiatives against Israel similar to those applied to South Africa in the apartheid era. We appeal to you to pressure your respective states to impose embargoes and sanctions against Israel. We also invite conscientious Israelis to support this Call, for the sake of justice and genuine peace.

These non-violent punitive measures should be maintained until Israel meets its obligation to recognize the Palestinian people's inalienable right to self-determination and fully complies with the precepts of international law by:

1. Ending its occupation and colonization of all Arab lands and dismantling the Wall;

2. Recognizing the fundamental rights of the Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel to full equality; and

3. Respecting, protecting and promoting the rights of Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and properties as stipulated in UN resolution 194.

Endorsed by: The Palestinian political parties, unions, associations, coalitions and organizations representing the three integral parts of the people of Palestine: Palestinian refugees, Palestinians under occupation and Palestinian citizens of Israel.

For a complete list of all co-signers, please go to: http://electronicintifada.net/v2/article3981.shtml

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E. Help us stop Israel's wall peacefully by Mohammed Khatib

International Herald Tribune
http://www.iht.com/articles/2005/07/11/opinion/edkhatib.php
TUESDAY, JULY 12, 2005

BILIN, West Bank: While the international media has been focusing on Israel's planned withdrawal from the Gaza Strip, in my village of Bilin, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, we are living an equally important but overlooked story. Though Israeli forces plan to withdraw from Gaza, they are simultaneously expanding their West Bank settlements. On our village's land, Israel is building one new settlement and expanding five others. These settlements will form a city called Modiin Illit, with tens of thousands of settlers, many times the number to be evacuated from Gaza. These settlements consume most of our area's water. Throughout the West Bank, settlement and wall construction, arrests, killing and occupation continue.

One year ago, the International Court of Justice handed down an advisory ruling that Israel's construction of a wall on Palestinian land violated international law. Today, Palestinians in villages like ours are struggling to implement the court's decision and stop construction using nonviolence, but the world has done little to support us.

Bilin is being strangled by Israel's wall. Though our village sits two and a half miles east of the Green Line, Israel is taking roughly 60 percent of our 1,000 acres of land in order to annex the six settlements and build the wall around them. This land is also money to us - we work it. Bilin's 1,600 residents depend on farming and harvesting our olives for our livelihood. The wall will turn Bilin into an open-air prison, like Gaza.

After Israeli courts refused our appeals to prevent wall construction, we, along with Israelis and people from around the world, began peacefully protesting the confiscation of our land. We chose to resist non-violently because we are peace-loving people who are victims of occupation. We have opened our homes to the Israelis who have joined us. They have become our partners in struggle. Together we send a strong message - that we can coexist in peace and security. We welcome anyone who comes to us as a guest and who works for peace and justice for both peoples, but we will resist anyone who comes as an occupier.

We have held more than 50 peaceful demonstrations since February. We learned from the experience and advice of villages like Budrus and Biddu, which resisted the wall nonviolently. Palestinians from other areas now call people from Bilin "Palestinian Gandhis."

Our demonstrations aim to stop the bulldozers destroying our land, and to send a message about the wall's impact. We've chained ourselves to olive trees that were being bulldozed for the wall to show that taking trees' lives takes the village's life. We've distributed letters asking the soldiers to think before they shoot at us, explaining that we are not against the Israeli people, but against the building of the wall on our land. We refuse to be strangled by the wall in silence. In a famous Palestinian short story, "Men in the Sun," Palestinian workers suffocate inside a tanker truck. Upon discovering them, the driver screams, "Why didn't you bang on the sides of the tank?" We are banging - we are screaming.


In the face of our peaceful resistance, Israeli soldiers attack our peaceful protests with teargas, clubs, rubber-coated steel bullets and live ammunition, and have injured over 100 villagers. They invade the village at night, entering homes, pulling families out and arresting people. At a peaceful protest on June 17, soldiers arrested the brothers Abdullah and Rateb Abu Rahme, two village leaders. Soldiers testified that Rateb was throwing stones. An Israeli military judge recently ordered Rateb's release because videotapes showed the soldiers' claims were false.

The Palestinian people have implemented a cease-fire and have sent a message of peace through our newly elected leadership. But a year after the international court's decision, wall building on Palestinian land continues. Behind the smoke screen of the Gaza withdrawal, the real story is Israel's attempt to take control of the West Bank by building the illegal wall and settlements that threaten to destroy dozens of villages like Bilin and any hope for peace.

Bilin is banging, Bilin is screaming. Please stand with us so that we can achieve our freedom by peaceful means.

(Mohammed Khatib is a leading member of Bilin's Popular Committee Against the Wall and the secretary of its village council.)

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F. Second Child from Balata Refugee Camp Died by ISM Nablus
July 12th, 2005

On Monday, Balata residents endured their second child martyr's funeral in five days. Fourteen year old Noor Faris Njem was shot in the head late last Wednesday evening when the Israeli army came to Balata Refugee Camp and, without warning, opened fire on unarmed civilians. Noor (meaning “light”) was peering round a wall to see if the jeep was still there when a soldier shot him in the top of his head. After the best efforts of medics, he died on Sunday afternoon: the second child to die from injuries inflicted by the Israeli army that night. In retaliation for Noor's shooting, two sixteen year-old fighters lay in wait to fire at the army when they entered the camp. Khalid Mohammed Msyme was shot dead and the other boy is critically injured.

Balata is a refugee camp in the heart of the West Bank, tens of kilometers from Israeli towns. There was no reason for the Israeli soldiers to come to Balata that night. There was no Israeli military operation, no claim of any risk to any Israeli civilians, settlers or soldiers. There was no reason for the Israeli soldiers to shoot Noor, an unarmed child. There was no reason for them to subsequently drive further into Palestinian streets late at night, where they knew they would find youths angered and hurt by the shooting of one of their friends. There was no reason for them to drive round the camp firing until they drew out two more boys, only leaving when they had shot them too. Two more children have died needlessly, adding to the hundreds who have already died here.

Noor's death was announced from the mosque at 7am by a man who could barely speak for the emotion. Although we had expected this news for several days, the death of a child is always disturbing. I am sorry to say we have lost count of how many funerals we have attended here. It doesn't get easier. On the contrary, I feel the weight of this more now. At first I was relieved to find that I could bear the emotion of the occasion; with time, and deepening bonds to the community, I feel closer to tears with each martyr: not tears of grief (these people are not my own family)…Tears of frustration at the futile waste of life here. With these latest two deaths, I also feel a loss of hope for peace here. For the last four months Palestine is supposed to have enjoyed a ceasefire. It doesn't feel like peace in Balata. In that time there have been countless incursions, dozens of injuries of Palestinians by Israeli soldiers, scores of arrests, an invasion, curfew, assassinations of two residents of Balata and now the shooting of three children, causing the death of two.

On Thursday morning, Al Aqsa Martyrs and the other Palestinian resistance brigades in Balata announced an end to their part of the ceasefire. That means they will now retaliate for the Israeli Occupations Force's attacks on them. I hope that the world's media reports this honestly, explaining that the Israeli forces had never kept to their part of the ceasefire.
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G. Soldier Released After Admitting to Deliberately Firing at Palestinian by IMEMC & Agencies
Tuesday, July 12, 2005, 10:30

An Israeli soldier who admitted that he deliberately shot a Palestinian who was simply observing a peaceful protest has been released from custody.

The incident took place two months ago in Bil’in, near the West Bank city of Ramallah, when the soldier fired and moderately injured a resident during a protest against the separation wall.

The soldier originally claimed that the resident endangered his life by hurling stones at him, and that he had to shoot him, but other soldiers in the same unit testified that their colleague was not under any kind of danger, and that it was not necessary to open fire during a protest against the separation wall.

The soldier originally claimed that the resident endangered his life by hurling stones at him, and that he had to shoot him, but other soldiers in the same unit testified that their colleague was not under any kind of danger, and that it was not necessary to open fire.

Under interrogation by a team from the Israeli Ministry of Justice, the soldier who opened fire admitted later that the resident he shot had not thrown stones, and that his life and the lives of the other soldiers were not endangered in any way. The soldier also admitted that the resident was only observing the events and did not even participate in the protest.

Despite these facts, the soldier was released only under the condition that he remain on his military base for two months!

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H. Report from Hares by International Women’s Peace Services

Date of incidents: July 10, 2005
Place: Hares, Salfit district
Witness/es: Hares residents
Contact details: Contact IWPS

Description of Incident

On Sunday, July 10, Mohamad Mahmoud Daoud, 28 years old, was stopped and detained on the road from Hares to Nablus, near the town of Jit. Mohammed and his wife, who is four months pregnant, were forced to wait in the noon sun for several hours. When Mohamad’s wife complained that she was sick and needed to go to the hospital, the soldiers cursed at her. Mohamad told the soldiers not to say bad words to his wife. The soldiers beat him and arrested him. He is currently being held in Qedumin. IWPS members interviewed family members and assisted the family to call Hamoked (an Israeli Human Right organization).

Report by: Cathy
Date report written on: July 12, 2005

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I. Israeli Army Continues Night-time Invasions of Hares by International Women’s Peace Services

At approximately 12:30 a.m. two army jeeps entered the village of Hares and three army jeeps stationed themselves at the western entrance into the village. At approximately 1:30 a.m. soldiers entered the home of Yasser. They were able to open the door without breaking it. They proceeded to the roof, looking briefly into the room where Yasser's wife and four young children were cowering. After searching the roof, they came down and asked for her husband. She responded that he was not there. The soldiers proceeded towards the door, opened the refrigerator that was located near it, then searched the guest room, an area underneath the house and then finally left. They were there approximately 30 minutes.

At approximately 1:30 a.m. soldiers knocked on the door of another house. They were let in. They started to proceed to the roof but were told by the husband to take another path because his wife and children were in that room. After searching the roof, they left. They were there approximately 15 minutes.

At approximately 1:45 a.m. soldiers rang the buzzer of the home of Abdul Rahim. They banged the door but the family did not answer. After about 15 minutes, the soldiers went around to the back of the house and knocked on the adjacent unit where Abdul Rahim's brother lives with his family. The wife opened the door and the soldiers told her to tell the family of Abdul Rahim that if they did not answer the door the army would blow up the house. The soldiers came back around to the front and banged loudly on the door. Finally, it was opened and the soldiers proceeded inside. The family consists of twenty members including 9 children, 6 women and 5 men. Most of the family was cowering in one room while the husband and father asked the army why they were there. The two men received no answer. The soldiers cursed at the two men, told them to stay downstairs with the rest of the family and then proceeded to the roof of the house. They stayed there approximately 20 minutes and then left.

Report by: Wendy, Ingrid and Laura.
Date report written on: Thursday, July 13, 2005

ENDS

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